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Full text of "The romance of women hymn writers"

THE BENSON LIBRARY OF HYMNOLOGY 

Endowed by the Reverend 

Louis Fitzgerald Benson, d.d. 



LIBRARY OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 




3 'Si- 1 



CO 



.... 



The Romance of 
Women Hymn Writers 



By 
F. W. PITT 



Published by 

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH PUBLISHERS 

Findlay, Ohio 

Printed in the U. S. A. 



FOREWORD 

No Christian writer in Great Britain is better 
known or more beloved than the author of this book. 
Mr. Pitt is one of the chief leaders in the Advent Testi- 
mony and Preparation Movement in England, and was 
for many years editor of its official organ, "The Advent 
Witness." He is a prolific writer and his books have a 
wide circulation in Europe. It is a joyous privilege to 
introduce him to American readers through a book 
produced by American publishers, and it is to be hoped, 
that if our Lord tarries, many other books may be pub- 
lished here from Mr. Pitt's pen. 

WILLIAM L. PETTINGILL. 
Wilmington, Del. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Princeton Theological Seminary Library 



http://archive.org/details/romanceomOOpitt 



PREFACE 

It was something of a revelation to me to learn 
from my old and valued friend, the author of "THE 
ROMANCE OF WOMEN HYMN WRITERS," that un- 
til the middle of the 18th century no woman had found 
a place amongst hymn writers. I had somehow thought 
of Miriam and Deborah as writers of sacred songs, but 
the author proves that this is not so and his judgment 
is confirmed by a reference to Scripture. 

The second impression made by a careful and most 
enjoyable perusal of the manuscript is that "those who 
have suffered most have most to give;" "they learn in 
suffering what they teach in song." Annie Steele, 
Harriet Auber, Charlotte Elliott and Frances Haver- 
gal, are cases in point. Not that such hymns as these 
famous authors wrote are doleful or depressing; quite 
the other way, they ring out a nobler note, having 
learned that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy 
cometh in the morning," or as one has beautifully ex- 
pressed it: — 

Many a rapturous minstrel 

Among the sons of light 
Will say of his sweetest music, 

"I learnt it in the night." 

"And many a rolling anthem 

That fills the Father's home, 
Sobbed out its first rehearsal 

In the shade of a darkened room." 

I do not know of anyone better qualified to write 
about hymns than Mr. Pitt. He is himself a poet, and 
his verses have always been a pleasure and a profit to 
me, and when I began reading the present volume it 



6 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

so gripped me that I did not lay down the MS. until 
I had read the last line. 

But it is not only that the stories of women hymn 
writers is of deep interest, Mr. Pitt's penetrating ex- 
amination of the doctrines of the writers is really 
valuable from the standpoint of a preacher of the old- 
fashioned Gospel like myself. The chief est charm of 
the book is the tribute the author pays to our ador- 
able Lord, wherein he brings out so helpfully, and at 
the same time so tenderly, the central fact of the Chris- 
tian Faith, setting forth in wise and winsome words 
his deep conviction that Christ and Him Crucified, as 
expressed by women hymn writers, is the sure foun- 
dation of their faith and their strongest anchor of hope 
within the veil. 

Besides the enjoyment which "The Romance" pro- 
vides for all who read it, I must offer a sincere tribute 
of admiration and appreciation. To me the reading of 
the MS. has meant an enrichment of mind, and it has 
enhanced my estimate of the ministry of those women 
who, as is so strikingly set forth, have been inspired 
by the Holy Spirit to wed the deepest spiritual realities 
to the most delightful flow of rhythm. By his unique 
presentation of a great subject, the author has proved 
his right to a place amongst those hymnoiogists whose 
contributions have added to the value of the Church's 
treasures. 

Earnestly and confidently I commend "THE RO- 
MANCE OF WOMEN HYMN WRITERS," feeling sure 
that it will make a wide appeal to the Christian public 
and bring honour and glory to the Lord. 

G. H. LUNN, M.A., 
Rector of Blisworth, Northampton, Eng. 



CONTENTS 

Page 

Introductory 9 

Annie Steele 11 

Harriet Auber 15 

Mrs. Ann Gilbert 19 

Charlotte Elliott 22 

Elizabeth Clephane 31 

Caroline Maria Noel 38 

Mrs. Anne Ross Cousin 42 

Fanny Crosby 48 

Anna Letitia Waring 53 

Frances Ridley Havergal 57 

Sarah Adams 62 

Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander 69 

Jean Ingelow 72 

Charitie Lees Smith 75 

Sarah Doudney 78 

Anon 82 



INTRODUCTORY 

Innumerable hymns have been composed since the 
day when the Apostle Paul exhorted the Ephesian 
saints to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. 

Very few of the hymns written before the eight- 
eenth century are in use today. Then Dr. Watts came 
upon the scene and began a new era in Hymn writing. 

The Wesleys, Dr. Doddridge, and others, continued 
the good work till thousands of hymns were being 
sung, many of which are as fresh, and true, and popu- 
lar, as when they first voiced the story of redeeming 
love. 

But the curious thing is that until the middle of 
the eighteenth century no woman was found among 
the Hymn writers. All the psalms of the Jewish 
Church were written by men. The Latin fathers wrote 
some grand hymns, while the Latin mothers remained 
silent, nor can I find the record of any woman writer 
of hymns for nearly eighteen hundred years after the 
Church was formed, nor indeed since the world began. 

Hymn writing was as exclusive to men as the 
priesthood in Israel was to the family of Aaron. Why 
the women — so unlike them if some people are to be 
believed — kept silence so long, is a mystery. 

The silence was at last broken by Miss Annie 
Steele, who in 1760 published two volumes of Hymns 
under the name of Theodosia. Many of these immedi- 
ately became as popular as those of Watts and Wesley. 

What is equally curious is that no woman came 
forward to emulate Miss Steele for about another fifty 
years, and we can imagine her courage in pushing 
open the door never previously opened except by men, 
and standing with her two little volumes of verse 
amidst the galaxy of poets, who, from alt I can learn, 
evinced no surprise that a woman was amongst them 
like Daniel in the den of lions. 

Why other gifted women did not immediately 



10 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

arouse themselves to support dear Annie Steele no 
one seems to know, and no one since appears to have 
noticed the fact that at long last a woman had written 
a hymn, or if they did they neither applauded nor 
resented the innovation. 

Surely Miss Steele should have had a monument 
long ago, though no monument could honour her more 
than that which she unconsciously erected herself when 
she wrote hymns that have been sung with joy by tens 
of thousands of men and women entering into the 
gates of worship with thanksgiving, and into its courts 
with praise. 

Four of Miss Steele's hymns are placed first in 
my selection of women's hymns, and she deserves this 
distinction and more if I could give it. 

Another curious fact is that when women did 
seriously begin to write hymns they proved to the 
world that their long silence was not due to incom- 
petence, for some of the hymns I include in this book 
are as good, if not better — and I think better — than 
any hymns ever written by men. And as to ability 
to write hymns, Fanny Crosby wrote over seven thou- 
sand, who, assisted by hundreds of other gifted women, 
seems to have made up her mind to bring women's 
numerical average up to that of man's in spite of the 
handicap of nearly eighteen centuries of silence. 

My selection is made with some difficulty, for there 
are so many hymns to choose from that readers (if any) 
will wonder why their favourite hymns are left out. 
It is not because they are not worthy of a place in the 
roll of honour, but because most of the hymns chosen 
are those I myself love best, and which have given me 
most joy. 

May the Lord use these pages not so much to cele- 
brate the genius of our women hymn writers as to en- 
rich the lives of the saints and reveal more to them of 
the glory of the Lord, Who alone is worthy of all praise. 



ANNIE STEELE 
(1716-1778) 

ANNIE STEELE was the daughter of a Baptist 
Minister at Broughton in Hampshire. Her poems were 
published in 1 760. Her library is still treasured in her 
old home. 

The first of Miss Steele's hymns included here was 
written under tragic and painful circumstances. The day 
before she was to have been married, Miss Steele's fiance 
went for a swim, got out of his depth, and was drowned. 

With true Christian resignation she wrote the verses 
beginning "Father, whate'er of earthly bliss Thy sov- 
ereign will denies." 

The second hymn herewith is a really fine compo- 
sition, and is perhaps more popular now than it was when 
it was written nearly a century and a half ago. 

John Gadsby, the famous author of Gadsby s Wan- 
derings, one of the best travel books ever written, was 
the son of William Gadsby, a prominent Strict Baptist 
minister, by whom a hymnbook still in use was published, 
entitled Gadsbys Selection. 

John Gadsby suffered from a pulmonary complaint, 
and leaving his printer's business to his Manager in Lon- 
don, travelled in the East in search of health. 

In his most interesting but almost forgotten book, 
Hymn Writers, he gives a wonderful picture of Wesley, 
Whitefield, and many others of those stirring Revival 
days. In his brief reference to Miss Steele — his only ref- 



12 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

erence to a woman hymn writer — he says that her hymn : 
"My God, My Father, Blissful Name," warmed his heart 
and gave him rich spiritual inspiration when he was de- 
pressed while staying in Egypt. Gadsby also, among the 
hundreds of men writers he wrote about, mentions a 
hymn attributed by some to Lady Huntingdon, but re- 
fuses her the authorship. Remarkably enough, he does 
not seem to notice that Miss Steele was the only woman 
hymn writer referred to in his book. 

RESIGNATION 

Father, whate'er of earthly bliss 

Thy sovereign will denies, 
Accepted at Thy throne of grace, 

Let this petition rise: — 

Give me a calm and thankful heart, 

From every murmur free; 
The blessings of Thy grace impart 

And let me live to Thee. 

Let the sweet hope that Thou art mine 

My path of life attend, 
Thy presence through my journey shine, 

And crown my journey's end. 

MY GOD, MY FATHER, BLISSFUL NAME 
My God, My Father, blissful Name, 

O may I call Thee mine? 
May I with sweet assurance claim 

A portion so divine? 

This only can my fears control, 

And bid my sorrows fly. 
What harm can ever reach my soul 

Beneath my Father's eye? 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 13 

Whate'er Thy providence denies 

I calmly would resign, 
For Thou art just, and good, and wise, 

O bend my will to Thine. 

Thy sovereign ways are all unknown 

To my weak erring sight; 
Yet let my soul adoring own 

That all Thy ways are right. 

My God, my Father, be Thy Name 

My solace and my stay, 
O wilt Thou seal my humble claim 

And drive my fears away. 

FATHER OF MERCIES 
Father oj mercies, in Thy Word 

What endless glory shines, 
For ever be Thy Name adored 

For these celestial lines. 

Here may the blind and hungry come, 

And light and food receive. 
Here shall the lowliest guest have room 

And taste and see and live. 

Here springs of consolation rise 

To cheer the fainting mind, 
And thirsty souls receive supplies 

And sweet refreshment find. 

Here the Redeemers welcome voice 

Spreads Heavenly peace around. 
And life and everlasting joys 

Attend the blissful sound. 

O may these heavenly pages be 
My ever dear delight 



14 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

And still new beauties may I see, 
And still increasing light. 

Divine Instructor, gracious Lord, 

Be thou for ever near, 
Teach me to love Thy sacred Word, 

And view my Saviour there. 

THE SAVIOUR CALLS 

The Saviour calls, let every ear 

Attend the heavenly sound, 
Ye doubting souls, dismiss your jear, 

Hope smiles reviving round. 

For every thirsting, longing heart 
Here streams of bounty flow; 

And life and health and bliss impart 
To banish mortal woe. 

Ye sinners come, 'tis Mercy's voice, 

The greatest call obey, 
Mercy invites to heavenly joys, 

And can you yet delay? 

Dear Saviour, draw reluctant hearts, 

To Thee let sinners fly, 
And take the bliss Thy love imparts, 

And drink and never die. 



HARRIET AUBER 
(1773-1862) 

HARRIET AUBER was the daughter of James Auber, 
the grandson of Pierre Auber, who in 1 765 fled to Eng- 
land from Normandy when the revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes drove the Huguenots from France. 

Harriet was born at Hoddesden, Herts, in the 
beautiful home where she lived and died at the age of 
eighty-nine years. 

Miss Steele remained in solitary splendour for fifty 
years. It was not a desire to emulate Annie Steele that 
led Harriet Auber to publish her verses, for she had for 
some time been writing prose and poetry in a quiet way, 
little of which is known today. But she wrote one hymn 
in remarkable circumstances, which secured for her last- 
ing and well-deserved fame. "Our Blest Redeemer" is 
found in countless evangelical hymnbooks, and its beau- 
ty and spiritual appeal have made it beloved of all who 
have "felt the Spirit of the Highest." 

In May, 1809, when Miss Auber was thirty-five 
years old, she was walking in the garden at Hoddesden, 
thinking of her lover away at the Peninsular Wars. She 
looked at her engagement ring, and pressed it to her lips, 
wondering if she would ever see her dear one again. She 
never did, for he was killed at the Battle of Waterloo 
six years later. 

But, unable to shake off the premonition of impend- 
ing trouble, Harriet went to her room to write what was 



16 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

in her thoughts. She could find no writing paper, so 
taking off her diamond ring, she traced on a window 
pane verses one, three, six and seven of her famous hymn. 
The pane remained during her lifetime, and was still 
there some years after her death, when it mysteriously 
disappeared. 

Adding three verses to those on the window pane, 
Miss Auber, twenty years later, published a volume of 
hymns in which was "Our Blest Redeemer.*' 

Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed 

His tender last farewell, 
A Guide, a Comforter bequeathed, 

With us to dwell. 

He came in semblance of a dove, 

With sheltering wings outspread, 
The holy balm of peace and love 

On earth to shed. 

He came in tongues of living flame, 

To teach, convince, subdue, 
As powerful as the wind He came, 

As viewless, too. 

He came sweet influence to impart, 

A gracious, willing Guest, 
Where He can find one humble heart 

Wherein to rest. 

And His that gentle voice we hear, 

Soft as the breath of even, 
That checks each thought and calms each fear, 

And speaks of Heaven. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 17 

And every virtue we possess, 

And every victory won, 
And every thought o/ holiness, 

Are His alone. 

Spirit of purity and grace, 

Our weakness pitying see, 
O make our hearts Thy dwelling place, 

And worthier Thee. 

Dr. J. B. Dykes, that peerless composer of hymn 
tunes, in the tune 5/. Cuthbert wedded these verses to 
a gentle harmony that has done much to make "Our Blest 
Redeemer*' the most beautiful of all hymns on the Holy 
Spirit. 

It is not generally noticed that the second verse, 
"He came in semblance of a dove/* applies only to the 
descent of the Holy Spirit on the Lord Jesus at His 
baptism of John in Jordan, and not to His descent on the 
day of Pentecost. It was never upon any one else that 
the Spirit ever came as a dove. This is not intended as 
a criticism so much as a reminder that since Holy Scrip- 
ture is most careful in its choice of figures of speech, we 
do well to be careful, too. 

In any case, the saints will go on singing Miss 
Auber*s lovely hymn till Jesus comes. 

The following hymn of Miss Auber reveals her 
Scriptural view as to the Kingdom of God on earth : — 

HASTEN, LORD, THE GLORIOUS TIME 

Hasten, Lord, the glorious time 

When beneath Messiah's sway 
Every nation, every clime, 

Shall the GospeVs call obey. 



18 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Mightiest kings His power shall own, 
Heathen tribes His Name adore; 

Satan and his host overthrown, 
Bound in chains, shall hurt no more. 

Then shall war and tumults cease, 
Then be banished grief and pain, 

Righteousness and joy and peace, 
Undisturbed shall ever reign. 

Bless we, then, our gracious Lord! 

Ever praise His glorious Name! 
All His mighty acts record; 

All His wondrous love proclaim. 



MRS. ANN GILBERT 
(1782-1866) 

Mrs. Ann Gilbert, nee Taylor, with her sister 
Jane published a volume of hymns for children early in 
the nineteenth century, just about the time that Harriet 
Auber was writing her hymns. 

"Great God, and Wilt Thou Condescend To Be 
My Father and My Friend?" was written in 1810, and 
44 Jesus Who Lived Above the Sky'* in 1812, so these sis- 
ters run Miss Auber very closely for the second place 
amongst women hymn writers. It may be that they should 
have the first place, for it is possible that they published a 
volume of verses earlier than 1829, the date of Miss 
Auber's volume. But the date of the composition of 
44 Great God, and Wilt Thou Condescend" — 1810 — is 
one year after Miss Auber wrote "Our Blest Redeemer" 
on the window pane. 

It seems almost as if Jane and Ann Taylor were a 
little timid of venturing into the precincts sacred so long 
to men, for their verses were composed for children. The 
two that follow here are excellent in form, and most of 
us learned them in the Sunday School long ago, and 
though the thoughts are intended for the child's mind, I, 
for one, remember both of the hymns with affection. 

GREAT GOD, AND WILT THOU CONDESCEND 

Great God, and wilt Thou condescend 
To be my Father and my Friend? 



20 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

I, a poor child and Thou so high, 
The Lord of earth, and air y and sky! 

Art Thou my Father? Canst Thou bear 
To hear my poor, imperfect prayer? 
Or wilt Thou listen to the praise 
That such a little one can raise? 

Art Thou my Father? Let me be 
A meek, obedeint child to Thee; 
And try in word and deed and thought 
To serve and please Thee as I ought. 

Art Thou my Father? I'll depend 
Upon the care of such a Friend; 
And only wish to do and be 
Whatever seemeth good to Thee. 

Art Thou my Father? Then at last 
When all my days on earth are past 
Send down and take me in Thy love 
To be Thy better child above. 

JESUS, WHO LIVED ABOVE THE SKY 

Jesus, Who lived above the sky, 
Came down to be a Man and die, 
And in the Bible we may see 
How very good He used to be. 

He went about, He was so kind 
He healed poor people who were blind, 
And many who were sick and lame, 
He pitied them, and did the same. 

And more than that, He told them, too, 
The things that God would have them do, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 21 

And was so gentle and so mild, 
He would have listened to a child. 

But such a cruel death He died! 

He was hung up, and crucified, 

And those kind hands that did such good, 

They nailed them to a cross of wood. 

And so He died, and this is why 
He came to be a Man and die, 
The Bible says He came from heaven 
That we might have our sins forgiven. 

He knew how wicked man had been, 
He knew that God must punish sin, 
So out of pity Jesus said, 
I'll bear the punishment instead. 
One of the best known verses in the world is: — 
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, 
How I wonder what you are, 
Up above the world so high, 
Like a diamond in the sky. 

It was written by the sisters Jane and Ann Taylor just 
a hundred years ago, and it is interesting to learn that 
one of the original copies has, since the war broke out 
( 1 939) , been deposited at the British Museum by the 
Friends of the National Libraries. Did the sisters ever 
dream of fame like this? 



CHARLOTTE ELLIOTT 
(1789-1881) 

Charlotte Elliott of Clapham and Brighton. 
Though born in the eighteenth century, it was not until 
1836 that Miss Elliott wrote her famous hymn "Just 
As I Am." Her brother, a clergyman, said: "My sister's 
hymn has been the means of saving more souls than all 
my sermons," which is certainly no exaggeration, for the 
hymn, during more than a hundred years, has been sung 
and is still being sung in congregations all over the world. 

I know a devoted Christian worker who said, "I 
broke down when we came to the verse 'Just as I am, 
Thy love unknown Has broken every barrier down.' 
All the ramparts of unbelief gave way as I fell on my 
knees and said, 'Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, O 
Lamb of God, I come.' " He was as good as his word 
for over half a century spent in service for God. Thou- 
sands have had a similar experience, and thousands of 
others have sung the hymn since their conversion to rein- 
force their vows in the Lord. 

Dr. Handley Moule, a relation by marriage, tells 
the story of the composition of "Just As I Am." 

"Miss Elliott was staying with her brother at 
Brighton. The household had all gone out to prepare 
for a bazaar, except Charlotte, who was then 45 years 
old and an invalid. She was lying on the sofa feeling 
her lack of usefulness. Her mind pondered over the 
time when, twenty years before, Dr. Malan, a noted 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 23 

evangelist, was a visitor to her father's home. She re- 
called the deep impression he had made upon her by his 
faithful words, and wrote the hymn without effort. It 
was shown to the family when they returned, and has 
since been sung in almost all European languages besides 
being included in countless hymnbooks at home." 

Simplicity, clear Gospel truth, and deep emotion, 
have made it perhaps one of the best known hymns in 
the world. It has found a response in thousands of hearts 
that were impenetrable to the most fervent appeals. 
It has brought to a decision a multitude that no man can 
number. 

Not only is it a Gospel classic of outstanding 
poetical merit, but the Spirit of God is in it. 

Miss Elliott edited six editions of the Invalid's 
Hymn Bool^, an( J composed other hymns, the best known 
of which are: "My God, My Father, While I Stray"; 
"Christian, Seek Not Yet Repose"; and "O Holy Sav- 
iour, Friend Unseen." 

JUST AS I AM 

Just as I am, without one plea, 
But that Thy blood loas shed for me, 
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am. and waiting not 
To rid my soul of one dark blot, 
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, though toss'd about 
With many a conflict, many a doubt, 



24 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Fightings within and fears without, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind, 
Sight, riches, healing of the mind, 
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, 
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, 
Because Thy promise I believe, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, Thy love unknown 
Has broken every barrier down, 
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, of that free love 
The breadth, length, depth and height to prove 
Here, for a season, then above, 
O Lamb of God, I come. 

There are many beautiful tunes composed expressly 
for this hymn, but I was never more moved than when 
it was sung to G. H. Purday's tune at the funeral of 
Dr. Dinsdale T. Young in 1938 at the Central Hall, 
Westminster, the scene of Dr. Young's great Gospel 
ministry. I was on the platform where, among many 
of Dr. Young's friends, were several well-known min- 
isters strong in their support of Modernism, to which Dr. 
Young was opposed. I wondered as I joined with them 
singing very heartily "O Lamb of God, I come," if any 
of them then and there renounced their objection to "the 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 25 

blood'* that can cleanse each spot. They sang as if 
they believed it, and I pray God that it may have been so. 

O HOLY SAVIOUR, FRIEND UNSEEN 

Holy Saviour, Friend Unseen, 
Since on Thine arm Thou bidst me lean, 
Help me throughout life's changing scene 

By faith to cling to Thee. 

Blest with communion so Divine, 
Take what Thou wilt, shall I repine? 
When as the branches to the vine 
My soul may cling to Thee. 

Far from my home, fatigued, opprest, 
Here I have found a place of rest, 
An exile still, yet not unblest, 
While I can cling to Thee. 

What though the world deceitful prove, 
And earthly friends and hopes remove. 
With patient, uncomplaining love 
Still would I cling to Thee. 

Though faith and hope may oft be tried, 

1 ask not, need not, aught beside, 
So safe, so calm, so satisfied. 

The soul that clings to Thee. 

Without a murmur I dismiss 
My former dreams of earthly bliss, 
My joy, my consolation, this, 
By faith to cling to Thee. 

Oft when I seem to tread alone 

Some barren waste with thorn o'ergrown, 



26 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Thy voice of love in gentlest tone 
Whispers, ''Still cling to Me." 

They fear not life's rough storms to brave 
Since Thou art near and strong to save, 
Nor shudder e'en at death's dark wave, 
Because they cling to Thee. 

Blest is my lot, whate'er befall, 
What can disturb, or who appal, 
While to my Strength, m,y Rock, my All, 
Saviour, I cling to Thee. 

The reference to Charlotte Elliott should not be 
passed over without mentioning the names of some of her 
distinguished relatives. They form a little galaxy of 
sweetness and light. The Horae Apocalypticae, an 
exhaustive work on the Historical interpretation of 
prophecy, was written by the Rev. E. B. Elliott, a rela- 
tion of Charlotte. Her brother was a well-known and 
successful minister of the Anglican Church at Brighton. 
Her sister-in-law published a volume of poems in 1832, 
and Mary Elizabeth Steele Elliott was Charlotte's niece, 
who edited the Church Missionary Juvenile Instructor 
and wrote two volumes of poems. Three of her hymns 
are included here, and most people will agree that they 
are worthy of a place in any selection. And, as we have 
already seen, that great saint and scholar, Dr. Handley 
Moule, Bishop of Durham, was one of several other 
distinguished relatives. 

CHRISTMAS HYMN 

There came a little Child to earth 
Long ago, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 27 

And the angels of God proclaimed His birth 

High and low. 
Out on the night so calm and still 

Their song was heard, 
For they knew that the Child on Bethlehem's hill 

Was Christ the Lord. 

Far away in a goodly land 

Fair and bright, 
Children with crowns of glory stand, 

Robed in white. 
In white more pure than the spotless snow, 

And their tongues unite 
In the psalms which the angels sang long ago 

On Christmas night. 

They sang how the Lord of that world so far 

A child was born, 
And that they might wear a glory crown 

Wore a crown of thorn. 
And in mortal weakness, in want, and pain, 

Came forth to die, 
That the children of earth might for ever reign 

With Him on high. 

He has put on His knightly apparel now 

In that goodly land, 
And He leads to where fountains of water flow, 

That chosen band; 
And for evermore in their robes made fair 

And undefiled, 
Those ransomed children His praise declare 

Who was once a child. 

O COME TO MY HEART, LORD JESUS 

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown 
When Thou earnest to earth for me; 



28 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

But in Bethlehem's home there was found no room 

For Thy holy nativity. 
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, 
There is room in my heart for Thee. 

Heaven's arches rang and the angels sang, 

Proclaiming Thy royal degree, 
But of lowly birth cam'st Thou, Lord, on earth, 

And in great humility. 
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, 
There is room in my heart for Thee. 

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest, 

In the shade of the cedar tree, 
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God, 

In the deserts of Galilee. 
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, 
There is room in my heart for Thee. 

Thou earnest, O Lord, with the living Word 

That should set Thy children free, 
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn, 

They bore Thee to Calvary. 
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, 
There is room in my heart for Thee. 

When heav'n arches ring and her choirs shall sing 

At Thy coming to victory, 
Let Thy voice call me home, saying, "Yet there is room, 

There is room at My side for thee," 
And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, 
When Thou contest, and callest for me. 

WHEN THE KING COMES 

They come and go, the seasons fair, 

And bring their spoil to vales and hills; 
But oh! there is waiting in the air, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 29 

And a passionate hope the spirit jills. 
Why doth He tarry, the absent Lord, 
When shall the kingdom be restored, 
And earth and heaven with one accord 

Ring out the cry that the King comes? 

What will it be when the King comes! 

What will it be when the King comes! 

What will it be when He comes, when He comes! 

What will it be when the King comes! 

The floods have lifted up their voice — 
The King hath come to His own, His own! 

The little hills and vales rejoice, 
His right it is to take the crown. 

Sleepers, awake, and meet Him first, 

Now let the marriage hymn outburst, 

And powers of darkness flee, disperst, 
What will it be when the King comes! 

A ransomed earth breaks forth in song, 

Her sin-stained ages overpast, 
Her yearning cry } "How long, how long?" 

Exchanged for joy at last, at last. 
Angels carry the royal command, 
Peace beams forth throughout all the land, 
And the trees of the field shall clap their hands; 

What will it be when the King comes! 

Oh, brothers, stand as men that wait, 

The dawn is purpling in the East, 
The banners wave from heaven's high gate: 

The conflict now, but soon the feast! 
Mercy and truth shall meet again. 
Worthy the Lamb that once was slain! 
We can suffer now — He will know us then: 

What will it be when the King comes! 



30 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

This stirring hymn owes much of its popularity to 
the tune, which also was composed by Miss Elliott. It 
so exactly fits the words that one wonders if the gifted 
poetess composed the tune for the words or the words for 
the tune. 



ELIZABETH CLEPHANE 

From the days of Charlotte Elliott there has arisen 
a multitude of women hymn writers, of whose hymns 
two stand very high in my affection — "Beneath the 
Cross of Jesus" and 'The Ninety and Nine," written 
by: — 

Elizabeth Clephane, who was a daughter of 
the Sheriff of File. She died in 1869, aged 39 years, 
about four years before Ira D. Sankey composed tunes 
for two of her hymns, and by his wonderful singing sent 
them ringing round the world. Like Shakespeare and 
Keats, Miss Clephane never knew on earth how great she 
was. Yes like Shakespeare, whose statue did not get into 
?stminster Abbey till about 150 years after his death; 
and like Keats, who died at 24 with the contempt of 
critics ringing in his ears. Byron alludes to this fact in 
the lines: — 

"Who killed John Keats? 

I, said the Quarterly, 
So savage and tartarly, 

I killed John Keats." 

But, of course, the critics had a powerful ally in tu- 
berculosis. 

Elizabeth Clephane, with her sisters, devoted their 
lives to "love and good works." She was known as 
''Sunshine" in the homes of the poor, and with her sisters 
devoted all, and perhaps more than all they could spare, 
to assist the work of the Gospel in Melrose. Every year 



32 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

they made up any deficit in the funds of the Church to 
which they belonged. 

Even today the hymns of Elizabeth Clephane are 
better known than her name, and before they became 
known on earth she was singing among the angels. 

Many people, during the past seventy years, have 
been converted by means of 'The Ninety and Nine." 
Can there be any doubt that some of them have met 
Elizabeth in the Glory and told her of the miracles 
wrought by her songs? 

Abraham, in the unseen world, knew all about 
Moses and the prophets who were not born until hundreds 
of years after he had died. So one of the joys of saints 
in heaven is to learn that seed sown in hope on earth is 
bringing life to the dead after they have left the field. 

Paraphrases of Scripture truths are the most dif- 
ficult form of versification. I have proved this not only 
by my own failures but by the attempts of others, who 
either wander away from the point or compromise doc- 
trinal verity. 

But "The Ninety and Nine" is perfect. It is a 
composite picture of 'The Good Shepherd," made up 
from John 10 and Matthew 18, 12, and Luke 15, 3 
and 7. 

Elizabeth Clephane wove these Scriptures into a 
connected narrative. Her touch is delicate, but sure. 
The Gospel is not marred by imagination. There is not 
a word too much or too little. She begins with the 
urgency of the Shepherd setting forth to find the sheep 
that was lost, and ends with a final dramatic thrill. We 
seem to see the angels, their songs subdued, crowding to 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 33 

listen to the cry coming up "from the mountains, thunder 
riven," "Rejoice! I have found My sheep that was 
lost." "There is joy in heaven in the presence of the 
angels of God over one sinner that repents." 

The story of this poem bursting upon the world is 
well-known, and is told in Sankey's My Life and Sacred 
Songs. 

Mr. Sankey found the verses in a religious paper 
while travelling to Scotland with Mr. Moody. He 
showed it to his companion, who was not impressed. Mr. 
Sankey cut them out, and put them in his vest pocket. 
At a great meeting in Edinburgh Mr. Moody preached 
on "the Good Shepherd," and at the conclusion of his 
address said to his friend, "Sing something suitable." 
Sankey thought of the hymn in his pocket, but there was 
no tune. Taking out the slip of paper he placed it on 
the little organ, and struck the chord of A flat. He fol- 
lowed on, led by the words, to the tune which remains 
unchanged till this day. The audience was greatly 
moved. "Mr. Moody was in tears, and so was I," 
wrote the inspired singer afterwards. 

During their Mission in Scotland Moody and 
Sankey visited Melrose, and Elizabeth Clephane's sisters 
attended the meetings and made themselves known to 
Mr. Sankey. We can imagine their joy and surprise 
when they heard their departed sister's song. 

"Beneath the Cross of Jesus," the only other hymn 
of Miss Clephane's which has become popular, is, in my 
opinion, the best hymn of the Cross extant. "When I 
Survey the Wondrous Cross," by Dr. Watts, is glorious, 
but it is marred by the second verse, now generally 



34 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

omitted, some think because its reference to the blood is 
unacceptable to Modernism. But the verse does not 
mention the blood. It says: "His dying crimson like 
a robe Spreads o*er His body on the tree,*' which is not 
true to Scripture. The second couplet is equally faulty. 
We do not die to the globe or the globe to us. The 
globe with its flowers and fruits, its rivers and mountains, 
is very precious to believers who love God's works in 
creation. "Dying crimson'* and "dead to the globe" 
are poor substitute expressions for the blood of Christ 
and this present evil world. Having said this, it is due 
to Dr. Watts to say that the verse: "See from His head, 
His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled 
down,** is the most moving verse he ever wrote, and it is 
exquisite poetry, the more exquisite because it is true. 

The hymn by Sir John Bowring, "In the Cross of 
Christ I Glory,** expressed the Unitarian view of the 
Cross, committing no one to the doctrine of the atone- 
ment. But "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" is a series of 
lovely pictures of the Cross which have touched my own 
heart, and brought more tears to my eyes than any other 
hymn. 

Many a time when hard pressed I have brooded on 
this wonderful hymn, and found rest and courage in the 
last lines: — 

"Content to let the world go by, 

To know no gain nor loss, 
My sinful self my only shame, 

My glory all the Cross." 

I wonder if it was inspiration or experience that led 
this young saint, Elizabeth Clephane, to write those 
consecrated lines. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 35 

THE NINETY AND NINE 

There were ninety and nine that safely lay 

In the shelter of the fold. 
But one was out on the hills away 

Far off from the gates of gold. 
Away on the mountains, wild and bare, 
Away from the tender Shepherd's care. 

"Lord, hast Thou not here Thy ninety and nine, 

Are they not enough for Thee?" 
But the Shepherd made answer, "This of Mine, 

Has wandered away from Me, 
And although the road is rough and steep, 
I go to the desert to find My sheep." 

But none of the ransomed ever knew 

How deep were the waters crossed, 
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord pass'd 
through, 

Ere He found the sheep that was lost. 
Out in the desert He heard its cry, 
Sick, and helpless, and ready to die. 

"Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way 
That mark out the mountain's track?" 
They were shed for one who had gone astray 
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back." 
Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?" 
"They are pierced tonight by many a thorn." 

And all through the mountains, thunder riv'n, 

And up from the rocky steep, 
There arose a cry to the gates of Heaven, 

"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!" 
And the angels echoed around the Throne, 
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!" 



u 



a 



36 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

BENEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS 

Beneath the Cross of Jesus 

I fain would take my stand, 
The shadow of a mighty rock 

Within a weary land, 
A home within the wilderness, 

A rest upon the way, 
From the burning 1 of the noontide heat 

And the burden of the day. 

O safe and happy shelter, 

O refuge, tried and sweet, 
O try sting-place, where heaven's love 

And heaven's justice meet. 
As to the holy patriarch 

That wondrous dream was given, 
So seems my Saviour's Cross to me, 

A ladder up to heaven. 

There lies beneath its shadow, 

But on the farther side, 
The darkness of an awful grave, 

That gapes both deep and wide, 
And there between us stands the Cross, 

Two arms outstretched to save, 
Like a watchman set to guard the way 

From that eternal grave. 

Upon the Cross of Jesus, 

Mine eyes at times can see 
The very dying form of One 

Who suffered there for me; 
And from my smitten heart, with tears, 

Two wonders I confess, 
The wonder of His glorious love, 

And my own worthlessness. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 37 

I take, O Cross, thy shadow 

As my abiding place, 
J ask no other sunshine 

Than the sunshine of His face, 
Content to let the world go by, 

To know no gain nor loss, 
My sinful self my only shame, 

My glory all the Cross. 



CAROLINE MARIA NOEL 
(1819-1877) 

Caroline Maria Noel was the niece of the Hon. 
and Rev. Baptist Wrothesley Noel, a clergyman of the 
Church of England. It is suggestive that Baptist Noel 
became a Baptist by conviction as well as by name. In 
1848 he joined the Baptist Church, and in 186Z was 
elected President of the Union. His great ministry in 
John Street, Holborn, brought him renown, but his fame 
has declined with the passing years, while that of his 
gifted niece remains, and will continue as long as hymns 
are sung. 

Caroline Noel published many verses for the sick 
and lonely, but in 1 870 she wrote a hymn for Ascension 
Day which began with the lines, "At the Name of 
Jesus every knee shall bow." Later it was suggested 
to Miss Noel that "In the Name of Jesus*' was more 
true to Scripture, although in the Authorized Version of 
Philippians 2 the word "at" is used. Miss Noel agreed 
to the amendment, and her great hymn is now frequently 
so printed. 

IN THE NAME OF JESUS 

In the Name of Jesus 

Every knee shall bow, 
Every tongue confess Him, 

King of Glory now. 
'Tis the Father's pleasure 

We should call Him Lord, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 39 

Who from the beginning 
Was the mighty Word. 

Mighty and mysterious 

In the highest height, 
God from everlasting, 

Very Light of Light. 
In the Father's bosom 

With the Spirit blest, 
Love in love eternal, 

Rest in perfect rest. 

At His voice creation 

Sprang at once to sight; 
All the angel voices, 

All the hosts of light; 
Thrones and dominations, 

Stars upon their way, 
All the heavenly orders, 

In their great array. 

Humbled for a season 

To receive a Name 
From the lips of sinners, 

Unto whom He came. 
Faithfully He bore it, 

Spotless to the last, 
Bore it back victorious, 

When from death He passed; 

Bore it up triumphant, 

Wi%h its human light, 
Through all ranks of creatures, 

To the central height, 
To the Throne of Godhead, 

To the Father's breast, 



40 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Filled it with the glory 
Of that perfect rest. 

In your hearts enthrone Him, 

There let Him subdue 
All that is not holy, 

All that is not true. 
Crown Him as your Captain 

In temptation's hour, 
Let His will enfold you, 

In its light and power. 

Brothers, this Lord Jesus 

Shall return again, 
With His Father's glory, 

With His angel train. 
For all wreaths of empire 

Meet upon His brow, 
And our hearts confess Him 

King of Glory now. 

There is one verse omitted: "Name Him, brothers, 
name Him, With love as strong as death." It is better 
left out, for not only does the second line not scan, but it 
breaks the sequence of thought. As I have printed it, it 
is one of the best hymns ever written. I do not know any 
man's hymn that can compare with it. It is full of glory, 
and is a tribute to be laid at the feet of our precious 
Saviour. 

First, it gives His true place to Jesus as one with 
the Father and the Holy Spirit: at His voice creation 
sprang forth. "He spake and it was done." The in- 
carnation, death, resurrection and ascension are expressed 
in pointed sentences. His power to save and His second 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 41 

coming bring to our minds the glorious progress of the 
Lord from eternity to eternity. The hymn is a volume 
of Divine revelation in a few words, which, when sung 
from the heart, is salvation and life. 

It is not a hymn of the Church of England, nor of 
the Baptist denomination, but of the whole Church of 
God. It is the Word of God in human speech, more 
precious than fine gold tried in the fire. 

Written by a woman, is it any wonder that I can- 
not understand why no woman published a hymn since 
the world began till I 760 A. D. ? 



MRS. ANNE ROSS COUSIN 
Mrs. Anne Ross Cousin (nee Cumdell), in 

1874 married the Rev. William Cousin, Minister of the 
Presbyterian Church in Chelsea, London. She had a 
remarkable gift for music and languages. Soon after 
her marriage she removed with her husband to Irvine, 
Scotland, where her poetical gifts led to the writing of 
the splendid hymn: 'The Sands of Time Are Sinking." 
It was published as a poem of sixteen verses. Copies 
are in circulation which attribute the hymn to Samuel 
Rutherford. This is, of course, quite a mistake. The 
hymn was written by Mrs. Cousin after reading a book 
on the Scottish saint and martyr whose dying words 
were, "Glory dwelleth in Immanuel's Land." This 
sentence is the basis of the poem, verses of which are 
found in many books as a hymn. 

Mrs. Cousin's daughter says her mother composed 
the hymn verse by verse as she sewed, and afterwards 
wove them together. 

It is not too much to say that even if the poem as 
a whole is unequal, some of the verses are not excelled, 
nor I think equalled, in their beauty and grandeur. They 
leave far behind most hymns that men have written on 
the glories of the Lord Jesus. The first verse, which gives 
its title to the hymn, may be taken as introductory. But 
the next verse, "O Christ, He is the fountain," at once 
lifts the soul into the height of adoring worship. Those 
who have drunk most deeply of "the deep, sweet well 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 43 

of love/' will most easily respond to the appeal of the 
verse. The last verse sanctifies the "dews of sorrow," 
which are made precious when "lustred by His love." 

The verse, "Oh, I am my Beloved's," reminds us of 
the joys of the Bride and Bridegroom in the Song of 
Solomon, and the greatest verse of all, "The Bride eyes 
not her garment," anticipates the day of the Church's 
espousal to Christ. Doctrine is lightly touched upon, 
always in conformity with Scripture. The hymn is a 
poem of the highest rank, a box of ointment of spikenard, 
very precious, like that with which Mary anointed the 
feet and head of the Lord Jesus. Its perfume fills the 
world. 

Mrs. Cousin died in Edinburgh in 1906, aged 83 
years. Her hymn will never die. 

Another hymn by Mrs. Cousin is in quite a differ- 
ent class, "O Christ, What Burdens Bowed Thy Head." 
In this most solemn hymn the judicial aspect of the death 
of Christ is unfolded in a series which lead us into the 
darkness of Calvary. It is almost impossible to bear the 
strain of what Coleridge calls "something inscrutable" 
in the atonement of Christ. I never cease wondering at 
what the "assembly of the wicked" endured in those 
hours of total darkness at Calvary. Darkness is a ter- 
rible thing, a darkness that can be felt. But what must 
have been the sufferings of Christ when He entered alone 
into that darkness, out of which came the cry, "My God, 
My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" 

In presenting the judicial aspect of the Cross of 
Christ, Mrs. Cousin enables us in some measure to realize 
what is not realized by descriptions, often sentimental 



44 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

and unscriptural, of the physical sufferings of our Blessed 
Lord. 

It is good to be reminded that we are not saved by 
the "pains He had to bear," but by the life He laid down, 
the death He died, His precious Blood. In the Epistles 
to the Romans and Hebrews the physical sufferings of 
Christ are never mentioned. We are "justified by His 
Blood," not by His wounds. Jesus might have re- 
covered from the injuries caused by the wounds, the 
scourging, and the crown of thorns. Scripture marvel- 
lously safeguards these vital truths, often imperilled by 
hymns which speak of "five bleeding wounds,'* and such 
like. 

There is only one historical mention of the Blood 
of Jesus. In Gethsemane "He sweat as it were great 
drops of blood." But it was not blood. The crown of 
thorns doubtless caused blood to flow. But Scripture 
does not say so. The scourging must have brought blood. 
But it doesn't say so. Blood must have flowed when 
His hands and feet were pierced by nails. But it doesn't 
say so. The only mention of the literal blood of Jesus 
is when a soldier pierced His side, "and forthwith came 
there out blood and water." He was dead. "He made 
His soul an offering for sin." Not His birth, nor the 
holy life He lived, not His wounds, but His death, when 
He died "the just for the unjust to bring us to God." 

I know of no book which finds room for Mrs. 
Cousin's unique and solemn hymn except Sankey's and 
the Brethren's Hymn Book, and with the increase of 
Modernism I do not expect to see it in any future de- 
nominational hymnbook. Some may consider it pon- 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 45 

derous, but foundations cannot be light, and "O Christ, 
what burdens bowed Thy head" concentrates on the 
foundation on which redemption is built. 

IMMANUEL'S LAND 

The sands of time are sinking, 

The dawn of heaven breaks, 
The summer morn I've sighed for, 

That fair, sweet morn awakes. 
Dark, dark, has been the midnight, 

But dayspring is at hand, 
And glory, glory dwelleth 

In Immanuel's land. 

O Christ, He is the fountain, 

The deep, sweet well of love. 
The streams on earth I've tasted, 

More deep I'll drink above. 
There to an ocean fulness 

His mercy doth expand, 
And glory, glory dwelleth 

In ImmanueVs land. 

I am my Beloved's 
And my Beloved's mine, 

He brings a poor, vile sinner 
Into His house of wine. 

1 stand upon His merit, 

I know no other stand, 
Not e'en where glory dwelleth 
In Immanuel's land. 

The Bride eyes not her garment, 

But her dear Bridegroom's face. 
I will not gaze at glory 

But on my King of Grace. 



46 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Not at the crown He giveth, 

But on His pierced hand, 
The Lamb is all the glory 

Of Immanuel's land. 

With mercy and with judgment 

My web of time He wove, 
And aye the dews of sorrow 

Were lustred with His love. 
I'll bless the Hand that guided, 

I'll bless the Heart that planned, 
When throned where glory dwelleth 

In ImmanueVs land. 

SUBSTITUTION 

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head? 

Our load was laid on Thee; 
Thou stoodest in the sinner's stead, 

Did'st bear all ill for me. 
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed, 

Now there's no load for me. 

Death and the curse were in our cup, 

O Christ, 'twas full for Thee. 
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop, 

'Tis empty now for me. 
That bitter cup, Love drank it up, 

Now blessings' draught for me. 

Jehovah lifted up His rod; 

O Christ, it fell on Thee! 
Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God; 

There's not one stroke for me: 
Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed, 

Thy bruising healeth me. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 47 

The tempest's awful voice was heard; 

O Christ, it broke on Thee: 
Thy open bosom was my ward, 

It braved the storm for me; 
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred; 

Now cloudless peace for me. 

Jeliovah bade His sword awake, 

O Christ, it woke 'gainst Thee; 
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake, 

Thy heart its sheath must be. 
All for my sake, my peace to make: 

Now sleeps that sword for me. 

For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died, 

And I have died in Thee; 
Thou'rt risen, my bands are all untied, 

And 7iow Thou liv'st in me; 
When purified, made white, and tried, 

Thy Glory then for me. 



FANNY CROSBY 
(1820-1915) 

Fanny Crosby was born at Putnam County, New 
York. Blind from infancy, she began to write verse 
when eight years old. When I was a boy I remember 
a popular song called, "Rosalie, the Prairie Flower.*' 
I can recall the tune and one or two of the lines, though 
I only heard it sung in the streets. This, I believe, was 
one of the secular songs of Fanny Crosby, which she 
composed before she devoted her genius to sacred poetry. 
In 1858 she married Alexander Van Alstyne, a blind 
teacher in a school for the blind. 

This marvellous woman, who lived for 95 years, 
wrote over 7,000 hymns. Think of it! Nearly a hun- 
dred hymns every year for 70 years. Her output would 
fill seven large volumes of a thousand hymns each, and 
she never appears to have grown weary of her prodigious 
task. 

How is one to select from such an amazing supply? 
Truly, Fanny Crosby's hymns cannot all be of equal 
merit. But this is certain, that of the many that are well- 
known there is not one that does not contain some strik- 
ing thought expressed in graceful language which would 
entitle it to a place in any evangelical collection of hymns. 
"Rescue the Perishing"; "All the Way My Saviour 
Leads Me"; "What a Gathering That Will Be"; are 
a few that come to mind, each of which is equalled by 
scores of others of great merit. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 49 

She owes much of her fame to that fine Christian 
musician, Ira D. Sankey, who put many of her hymns 
to music and sang them in his Missions with D. L. Moody. 

Mr. Sankey himself lost his sight towards the end 
of his life, and often visited his blind friend after he 
retired from active service. 

It is pathetic, but beautiful, to think of these two 
servants of God talking together of mercies past and 
joys to come, while they waited for that day when they, 
now blind, would see the King in His beauty, of Whom 
they had written and sung so much on earth. 

The two hymns I have selected to represent Fanny 
Crosby are two of her best known — "Safe in the Arms of 
Jesus" and "Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break." 

Sir Robert Anderson thought "Safe in the Arms 
of Jesus" was too familiar, and wrote, "Safe in Jehovah's 
Keeping." It is grand doctrine, reverently expressed, 
but it does not make swift passage to the heart. But 
there are few people who have not been instantly moved, 
many to tears, by the tender, graceful stanzas of "Safe 
in the Arms of Jesus." I think it would be impossible 
to express in better words than Fanny Crosby's the rest 
of the soul that trusts in Jesus. Mother love is exquisitely 
gentle, but it is stronger than death. Sound doctrine is 
undoubtedly a rampart and a refuge for the harassed 
soul. But a soul needs mothering as well as safety, not 
only the babes, but those of riper years. This is well 
expressed by a paraphrase of Scripture (Isa. 46, 4) : — 



"And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, 
Like lambs they shall still on My bosom be borne." 

Therefore I love "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," and 



50 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

I sing it and muse on it with heartfelt gratitude to God for 
inspiring its authoress to compose the song. 

The hymn was written in remarkable circumstances. 
Dr. W. H. Doane, a distinguished composer of sacred 
music, called on the blind poetess one day, and said, "I 
am in a hurry. I have a tune to which I want appropriate 
words." He went to the piano and played the music. 
Several times he played it, while Fanny Crosby listened 
intently. She retired to another room, and in about half 
an hour came back with the now well-known words, and 
said, 'They seemed to come to me without any effort." 
It only required Mr. Sankey to sing the lovely words at 
his meetings, and they went round the world to comfort 
and save unnumbered souls, and their mission is not yet 
finished. 

Fanny Crosby, in her advancing years, composed 
"Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break," which, with 
and without the tune written by George H. Stebbins, 
has wrought joy and peace to hearts longing for the day 
when, in the words of the haunting refrain, they "shall see 
Him face to face, and tell the story, saved by grace." 

SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 

Safe on His gentle breast, 
There by His love o'er-shaded, 

Sweetly my soul shall rest. 
Hark! 'Tis the voice of angels, 

Borne in a song to me, 
Over the fields of Glory, 

Over the jasper sea. 
Safe in the arms of Jesus, etc. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 51 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 

Safe from corroding care, 
Safe from the world's temptations, 

Sin cannot harm me there. 
Free from the blight of sorrow, 

Free from its doubts and fears, 
Only a few more trials, 

Only a few more tears. 
Safe in the arms of Jesus, etc. 

Jesus, my heart's dear refuge, 

Jesus has died for me, 
Firm on the rock of ages 

Ever my trust shall be. 
Here let me wait with patience, 

Wait till the night is o'er, 
Wait till I see the morning 

Break on the golden shore. 
Safe in the arms of Jesus, etc. 

SOME DAY THE SILVER CORD WILL BREAK 

Some day the silver cord will break, 

And I no more as now shall sing, 
But, O, the joy when I awake 

Within the palace of the King. 
And I shall see Him face to face, 
And tell the story saved by grace. 

Some day my earthly house will fall, 

I cannot tell how soon 'twill be, 
But this I know, my All in All 

Has now a place in heaven for me. 
And I shall see Him face to face, 
And tell the story saved by grace. 

Some day, when fades the golden sun 
Beneath the rosy-tinted West, 



52 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

My blessed Lord will say, "Well done!" 

And I shall enter into rest. 
And I shall see Him face to face, 
And tell the story saved by grace. 

Some day: till then I'll watch and wait. 
My lamp all trimmed and burning bright, 

That when my Saviour opes the gate, 
My soul to Him may take its flight. 

And I shall see Him face to face, 

And tell the story saved by grace. 



ANNA LETITIA WARING 
(1820-1910) 

Anna Letitia Waring was the authoress of 

Hymns and Meditations (1850-1863), and other pieces. 
Her best known hymns are "Father, I Know That All My 
Life Is Portioned Out by Thee'*; and "My Heart Is 
Resting, O My God, I Will Give Thanks, and Sing." 

From these hymns it may rightly be concluded that 
Miss Waring's was the life of a trusting saint, whose 
communion with the Lord found expression in the happy 
experiences which she described so trustfully for the 
comfort of others. There is a delicate charm in her 
tender breathings that has made them the answered prayers 
of anxious hearts fearful of the world's unrest. 

Such gentle souls as Charlotte Elliott and Frances 
Havergal, wrote martial hymns like "Christians, Seek 
Not Yet Repose" and 'Who Is on the Lord's Side?" 
Miss Waring makes no venture into these fields, but sings 
only as an apostle of trustful love in the calm of peace with 
God. Her private life and activities are not widely 
known, unlike those of some of her gifted sisters. She is 
like the nightingale, sweetly singing in the gloaming. 

FATHER, I KNOW THAT ALL MY LIFE 

Father. I know that all my life 

Is portioned out by Thee, 
The changes that are sure to come 

I do not fear to sec. 



54 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

But I ask Thee for a present mind 
Intent on pleasing Thee. 

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love 
Through constant watching, wise, 

To meet the glad with joyful smiles 
And wipe the weeping eyes, 

And a heart at leisure from itself 
To soothe and sympathise. 

I would not have the restless will 

That hurries to and fro 
Seeking for some great thing to do, 

Some secret thing to know. 
I would be treated as a child 

And guided where I go. 

Wherever in the world I am, 

In whatsoe'er estate, 
I have a fellowship with hearts 

To keep and cultivate, 
And a work of lowly love to do 

For the Lord on Whom I wait. 

So I ask Thee for the daily strength 

To none that ask denied, 
And a mind to blend with outward life 

While keeping at Thy side, 
Content to fill a little space 

If Thou be glorified. 

And if some things I do not ask 

In my cup of blessing be, 
I would have my spirit filled the more 

With grateful love to Thee. 
More careful not to serve Thee much, 

But to please Thee perfectly. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 55 

There are briars besetting every path 

That call for constant care; 
There is a cross in every lot 

And a constant need for prayer; 
But the lowly heart that leans on Thee 

Is happy anywhere. 

In a service which Thy love appoints 

There are no bonds for me, 
For my inmost heart is taught the truth 

That makes Thy children free, 
And a life of self -renouncing love 

Is a life of liberty. 

MY HEART IS RESTING 

My heart is resting, O my God, 

I will give thanks and sing. 
My heart is at the secret source 

Of every precious thing. 
Noiv the frail vessel Thou hast made 

No hand but Thine can fill, 
The waters of the earth have failed, 

And I am thirsty still. 

I thirst for springs of heavenly life, 

And here all day they rise. 
I seek the treasure of Thy love, 

And close at hand it lies. 
And a new song is in my mouth, 

To long-loved music set, 
Glory to Thee for all the grace 

I have not tasted yet. 

Glory to Thee for strength withheld, 

For want and weakness known, 
The fear that sends me to Thy breast 



56 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

For what is most my own. 
I have a heritage of joy 

Which yet I must not see. 
The hand that bled to make it mine 

Is keeping it for me. 

My heart is resting, O my God, 

My heart is in Thy care. 
I hear the voice of joy and health 

Resounding everywhere. 
"Thou art my portion," saith my soul, 

Ten thousand voices say, 
The music of their glad Amen 

Shall never die away. 



FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL 
(1836-1879) 

FRANCES RlDLEY HAVERGAL. Interesting partic- 
ulars of Miss Havergal's life are nearly as well-known 
as her lovely hymns. She was born at Worcester, where 
her father was rector of Astley. She was a delicate child, 
but though not allowed to go to school, she became a 
scholar, poet and hymn writer. She may rightly be 
called the Hymnist of Keswick, as the Rev. Evan Hop- 
kins was its theologian. Visitors to the great Convention 
know how Miss HavergaTs hymns, especially "Like 
a River Glorious," may be heard while passing down 
a street as the well-known tune floats out on the evening 
air from the hearts and voices of people in the houses. 

Her first well-known hymn was written in 1859, 
during a visit to Germany, when she was twenty-three 
years old. It was inspired by a picture of the Crucifixion 
under which were the words: "I gave My life for 
thee.'* The hymn nearly went into the fire, for Frances 
was dissatisfied with her work, but instead of burning it, 
on second thought she put it, crumpled and singed, into 
her pocket. Later on she read the verses to a dear old 
Christian in an almshouse, who was so delighted with 
them that the young authoress made copies and sent them 
to friends. 

Miss Havergal's best known hymn was written in 
1874, while staying in London with a large family who 
did not quite share her devotion to the Lord. She prayed 



58 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

for them all, and had the joy of receiving them one after 
another in her room, where she was able to help them. 

Unable to sleep on the last night of her visit, she 
sat up and wrote, 'Take My Life and Let It Be Con- 
secrated, Lord, to Thee." 

The hymn, though not great poetry, expresses per- 
fect surrender of the whole being to God. 'Take my- 
self, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee." 

Her greatest hymn, in my opinion, is "Thou Art 
Coming, O My Saviour, Thou Art Coming, O My 
King," which I include with "Like a River Glorious" 
and "Take My Life" as quite the best that have been, 
and perhaps could be, written on the subjects of each. 

This gifted and greatly loved songstress died at the 
Mumbles, Swansea Bay, in 1879, at the early age of 43 
years. 

LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS 

Like a river glorious 

Is God's perfect peace, 
Over all victorious 

In its bright increase. 
Perfect, yet it floweth 

Fuller every day, 
Perfect, yet it groweth 

Deeper all the way. 
Stayed upon Jehovah, 

Hearts are fully blest, 
Finding as He promised, 

Perfect peace and rest. 

Hidden in the hollow 

Of His pierced hand, 
Never foe can follow, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 59 

Never traitor stand. 
Not a surge oj worry, 

Not a shade of care, 
Not a blast of hurry 

Moves the spirit there. 

Every joy or trial 

Falleth from above, 
Traced upon our dial 

By the Sun of Love. 
We may trust Him fully 

All for us to do, 
They who trust Him wholly 

Find Him wholly true. 

THOU ART COMING, O MY SAVIOUR 

Thou art coming, O my Saviour, 

Thou art coming, O my King, 
In Thy beauty all resplendent; 
In Thy glory all transcendant; 

Well may we rejoice and sing. 
Coming in the opening East, 

Herald brightness slowly swells; 
Coming, O my glorious Priest, 
Hear we not Thy golden bells? 

Thou art coming, Thou art coming: 

We shall meet Thee on the way, 
We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee, 
We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee 

All our hearts could never say. 
What an anthem that will be, 

Ringing out our love to Thee, 
Pouring out our rapture sweet 

At Thine own all-glorious feet. 

Thou art coming, we are waiting 
With a hope that cannot fail, 



60 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Asking not the day nor hour . . . 
Resting on Thy word of power, 

Anchor'd safe within the veil. 
Time appointed may be long, 

But the vision must be sure; 
Certainty shall make us strong, 

Joyful patience shall endure. 

O the Joy to see Thee reigning, 

Thee, my own beloved Lord! 
Every tongue Thy Name confessing, 
Worship, honour, glory, blessing, 

Brought to Thee with one accord. 
Thee, my Master and my Friend, 

Vindicated and enthroned, 
Unto earth's remotest end, 

Glorified, adored and owned. 

CONSECRATION 

Take my life and let it be 
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. 
Take my moments and my days, 
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. 

Take my hands and let them move 
At the impulse of Thy love. 
Take my feet and let them be 
Swift and beautiful for Thee. 

Take my voice and let me sing 
Always, only, for my King. 
Take my lips and let them be 
Filled with messages for Thee. 

Take my silver and my gold, 
Not a mite would I withhold. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 61 

Take my intellect and use 

Every power as Thou shalt choose. 

Take my will and make it Thine, 
It shall be no longer mine. 
Take my heart — it is Thine own, 
It shall be Thy royal throne. 

Take my love: my Lord, I pour 
At Thy jeet its treasure-store. 
Take myself, and I will be 
Ever, only, all for Thee. 



SARAH ADAMS 
(1805-1848) 

Sarah Adams (nee Flower), was born at Har- 
low, Essex, of a Baptist family. She became an actress, 
but was obliged to leave the stage on account of her 
health. Among her earlier literary efforts was a drama 
of Christian martyrdom, entitled Vivia Perpetua. At 
the age of 29 she married an engineer, and on her father's 
death her sister Eliza went to live with her. They joined 
the Unitarian congregation of W. J. Fox, at South Place, 
London. Sarah wrote verses and Eliza set them to music. 
Both were sufferers from tuberculosis, and Sarah died 
two years after the death of her sister, at the early age of 
forty-three. Both were buried in the Baptist ground at 
Harlow. 

While living at Loughton, Sarah one night had a 
dream in which she seemed to stand at Bethel where 
Jacob dreamed of the ladder up to heaven. In the morn- 
ing she got up and wrote the hymn: "Nearer, My God, 
to Thee,*' which her sister set to music, but it did not at 
once become well-known. Later on Dr. Lowell Mason, 
Sir Arthur Sullivan and Dr. J. B. Dykes wrote tunes. 
The latter's is now most frequently used in this country. 

The hymn is perhaps more popular than any other 
in the world. It was a favourite of King Edward VII. 
When the Titanic sank with over a thousand souls, the 
band struck up "Nearer, My God, to Thee," and many 
of the passengers sang it as they went out into eternity. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 63 

As a poem it is a work of genius, and deserves the ap- 
preciation due to all great poems. 

NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE 

Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee, 
E'en though it be a cross 

That raises me. 
Still all my song shall be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee. 

Though like the wanderer, 

The sun gone down, 
Darkness be over me, 

My rest a stone, 
Yet in my dreams I'd be, 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee. 

There let my way appear 

Steps up to heaven, 
All that Thou sendest me 

In mercy given. 
Angels to beckon me 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee. 

Then with my waking thoughts, 

Bright with Thy praise, 
Out of my stony griefs 

Bethel I'll raise. 
So by my woes to be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 
Nearer to Thee. 



64 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Or if on joyful wing, 

Cleaving the sky, 
Sun, moon and stars forgot, 

Upward I fly, 
Still all my song shall be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee, 

When I speak to my God, I like to know what I am 
saying, but though I have sung "Nearer, My God, to 
Thee" scores of times with a real longing for a "closer 
walk with God," yet the more I study the words the less 
I understand them. 

This hymn can be sung by Moslems, Jews, Shin- 
toists, Hindus, Universalists and Unitarians quite as well 
as by Christians, real or nominal, which goes to prove 
that a hymn that can be sung by any religion cannot be a 
Christian hymn, which should, and does, commit one to 
the supernatural facts of the Christian Faith. 

"Just As I Am" and "Beneath the Cross of Jesus," 
"Rock of Ages," "Abide with Me," "Jesus, Lover 
of My Soul," are Christian hymns, which none but Chris- 
tians can sing and mean what they say. 

If non-Christians sing "Nearer, My God, to Thee," 
they do not mean the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, they mean a God Who did NOT "so love the 
world that He gave His only-begotten Son." They 
mean the God of their fatal religion: Vishnu, Kali, 
Allah and the like, or the God of an Universal Brother- 
hood. 

I do not doubt that the mercy of God would be 
available to a truly repentant sinner who, in the last 
extremity, cried from his heart, "Nearer, My God, to 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 65 

Thee." But why did any, if there were such, who sang 
the words as the Titanic went down call only then upon 
God, after they had ignored Him all their lives of pleas- 
ure and sin? "Our God is a consuming fire." Thomas 
Binney realized this when he wrote: — 

"Eternal Light, Eternal Light, 

How pure the soul must be, 
When placed within Thy searching sight 
It shrinks not, but with calm delight 

Can live and look on Thee. 

The spirits that surround Thy throne 

May bear the burning bliss, 
But that is surely theirs alone 
Since they have never, never known 

A fallen world like this. 

O how can I, whose native sphere 

Is dark, whose mind is dim, 
Before the Ineffable appear, 
And on my naked spirit bear 

The uncreated beam?" 

"Nearer, My God, to Thee'* without Christ, would 
be a prayer to be admitted into the light of absolute 
holiness, where a man would shrink with terror. "With- 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord." 

It would be deception to allow men to think that 
God is only a God to be invoked when all the springs of 
earth have failed, and the waters of death are rushing in. 
Most of those who at the last in despair cry "Nearer, 
My God, to Thee," have known, from their youth up, 
that Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; 
no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." Every 



66 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Christian knows this, and also that those who once were 
"far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." 

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into 
the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living 
way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, 
that is to say, His flesh, and having a high priest over 
the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in 
full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from 
an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure 
water.*' 

In a last moment of despair, crying "Nearer, My 
God, to Thee" may avail, so great is the mercy of God, 
but to those who are still living, "having no hope, and 
without God in the world," it is as: — 

"An infant crying in the night, 
An infant crying for the light, 
And with no language, but a cry!" 

and not much better than the infidel's prayer: "O God, 
if there be a God, save my soul if I have a soul." 

If we admitted that an eleventh hour appeal to God 
was all that is needed to seat a man in heavenly places 
with Christ, we should be encouraging the neglectors of 
salvation to listen to the subtle suggestions of the god of 
this world that there is plenty of time — you are not going 
to die yet! 

'We know that the Son of God is come, and hath 
given us an understanding that we may know Him that 
is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son 
Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." 

"So near, so very near to God, 
Nearer I cannot be, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 67 

For in the person oj His Son 
I am as near as He. 

So dear, so very dear to God, 

Dearer 1 cannot be, 
The love wherewith He loves the Son, 

Such is His love for me." 

This precious nearness to God is available to all 
during the long years of life while God is waiting to be 
gracious. 

We would not lessen the value of "Nearer, My 
God, to Thee" as a heart-longing prayer for closer prac- 
tical communion with God. Nor would we lessen the 
value of the prayer as a last, long-delayed cry for the 
mercy of God even after a life of missed opportunity. 
But we must not forget that solemn scene when at a cer- 
tain feast "the King came in to see the guests, he saw 
there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And 
He said unto him, Friend, how earnest thou in hither not 
having a wedding garment?" "AND HE WAS 

SPEECHLESS!" 

That a man who has lived without God, and is near 
to dying without hope may be saved at the last moment is 
well illustrated by the story of John Harper. He was a 
devoted soul-winning minister of the Gospel in Scotland 
and in London. Receiving a call to the great Moody 
Memorial Church in Chicago, he sailed, and was lost in 
the ill-fated Titanic. 

As the ship went down, John Harper was thrown 
into the sea, where he swam for some time amongst hun- 
dreds of others. As he went from one to another, he 
called out, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou 



68 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

shalt be saved." Many heard his appeal, and at least 
one man received Christ into his heart. He was saved 
in a double sense, for he eventually landed in America 
with others who were rescued from the watery deep. To 
prove his acceptance of Christ unto eternal salvation, he 
devoted himself to the service of the Lord. Later a 
tract was written entitled: John Harper's Last Convert 
In this it is told how the evangelist, still urging the perish- 
ing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, found his strength 
giving way, and as he was sinking cried out, "I am going 
down — No, I am going up!*' His body went down, but 
his spirit "winged its flight to realms of day," where, it 
may be hoped, others besides his "last convert" will meet 
him in the day of the Lord Jesus. 



MRS. CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER 

(1823-1895) 

Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander was the second 
daughter of Major Humphries of Milton County, Tyrone, 
Ireland. In 1850 she married Dr. Alexander, Bishop 
of Derry and Raphoe, afterwards the Archbishop of 
Armagh, who, after her death, collected over three hun- 
dred of his wife's poems and hymns. Before her mar- 
riage Mrs. Alexander had been greatly interested in 
young people, and wrote many hymns for those she 
gathered round her in Sunday School, among them being 
"All Things Bright and Beautiful," "Once in Royal 
David's City," and "We Are But Little Children 
Weak." 

The hymn on which, above others, Mrs. Alexander's 
fame rests, is that universal favourite: "There Is a 
Green Hill Far Away." 

There is a green hill far away 

Without a city wall, 
Where our dear Lord was crucified, 

Who died to save us all. 

We may not know, we cannot tell, 

What pains He had to bear, 
But we believe it was for us 

He hung and suffered there. 

He died that we might be forgiven, 

He died to make us good, 
That we might go at last to heaven 

Saved by His precious blood. 



70 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

There was no other good enough 

To pay the price of sin. 
He only could unlock the gate 

Of heaven and let us in. 

O dearly, dearly, has He loved, 

And we must love Him, too, 
And trust in His redeeming blood, 

And try His works to do. 

Charles Gounod, the famous French composer, set 
these words to music which has lifted the simple child's 
hymn from the Sunday School to the concert platform, 
and to drawing rooms, where its appeal has reached many 
who would not otherwise have heard the sweet story of 
Jesus. Queen Victoria was moved to tears when that 
incomparable singer Clara Butt sang it before Her 
Majesty. 

Mrs. Alexander was not only a writer of hymns for 
children. Some of her compositions are not only excellent 
poetry, but beautiful worship songs. The following is an 
example : — 

The roseate hues of early dawn, 

The brightness of the day, 
The crimson of the sunset sky, 

How fast they fade away. 
Oh, for the pearly gates of heaven, 

Oh, for the golden floor, 
Oh, for the Sun of Righteousness 
That setteth nevermore. 

The highest hopes we cherish here, 

How fast they tire and faint, 
How many a spot defiles the robe 

That wraps an earthly saint. 
Oh, for a heart that never sins, 

Oh, for a soul washed white. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 71 

Olu for a voice to praise our King, 
Nor wearies day or night. 

Here faith is ours and heavenly hope, 

And peace to lead us higher, 
But there are perfectness and peace 

Beyond our best desire. 
Oh, by Thy love and anguish, Lord, 

And by Thy life laid down, 
Grant that we fall not from Thy grace, 

Nor cast away our crown. 

I should like to print several more of this sweet 
singer's lovely hymns, but cannot spare room for other 
than: — 

FOLLOW ME 

Jesus calls us o'er the tumult, 

Of our life's wild, restless sea, 
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, 

Saying, "Christian, follow Me." 

As of old the apostles heard it 

By the Galilean lake, 
Turned from home, and toil, and kindred, 

Leaving all for His dear sake. 

Jesus calls us from the worship 

Of this vain world's golden store, 
From each idol that would keep us, 

Saying, "Christian, love Me more" 

In our joys and in our sorrows, 

Days of toil, and hours of ease, 
Still He calls, 'mid cares and pleasures, 

That we love Him more than these. 

Jesus calls us: by Thy mercies, 

Saviour, may we hear Thy call, 
Give our hearts to Thine obedience, 

Serve and love Thee best of all. 



JEAN INGELOW 

(1820-1897) 

JEAN INGELOW. In 1878 this distinguished author- 
ess published a volume containing a hundred hymns, but 
none of them are found in general use today. Her vogue 
as a secular poet has also declined, and there is not 
much known of her life and work. 

But there is one hymn adapted from a poem en- 
titled Honours, published in 1863, that stands very high 
in the favour of Christians, and will do so as long as 
hymns are sung. It is found in the Baptist and Con- 
gregational collections, but not yet in other denominational 
hymnals. The poetry of this hymn is of the highest or- 
der. The deity of Christ, and His sufferings, are pre- 
sented in a most original and intense manner; three or 
four words call to mind one after another stages of the 
revelation of the mystery of God. 

The hymn is one of my own chief favourites, and is, 
with several others, already referred to as one of my 
"songs in the night," when sleep sometimes refuses to 
"knit up the ravelled sleeve of care." 

And did'st Thou love the race that loved not Thee? 

And did'st Thou take to heaven a human brow? 
Dost plead with man's voice by the marvellous sea? 

Art Thou his Kinsman now? 

O God, O Kinsman loved, but not enough! 
O Man with eyes majestic after death! 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 73 

Whose feet have toiled along oar pathways rougli, 
Whose lips drawn human breath! 

By that one likeness which is ours and Thine, 
By that one nature that doth hold us kin, 

By that high heav'n where sinless Thou dost shine, 
To draw us sinners in: 

By Thy last silence in the judgment hall. 
By long foreknowledge of the dreadful tree, 

By darkness, by the wormwood, and the gall, 
I pray Thee, visit me. 

Come lest this heart should cold and cast away 
Die ere the Guest adored she entertain, 

Lest eyes that never saw Thy earthly day 
Should miss Thy heavenly reign. 

Careful theologians cannot fail to notice that in 
spite of so much that is of the best, there is often some- 
thing that makes the thoughtful man think twice. Until 
the last verse the hymn is one of astonished adoration 
which every child of God can appropriate. 

But the third and last verses seem to imply that the 
singer has not yet decided for Christ. If that is what is 
meant, then he has no right to say, "By that one nature 
which doth hold us kin." Scripture never says Christ 
took our nature — "He was made in the likeness of sin- 
ful flesh," which is quite another thing. Had the Lord 
taken our human nature, He would have been a sinner. It 
is because, when born again, we are "made partakers of 
the divine nature," that we can say, "By that one nature 
that doth hold us kin." We do not say it because Christ 
was made partaker of human nature. He was not. 



74 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Of course, Miss Ingelow may have meant that it is 
possible for a person to be a Christian and yet miss the 
heart-reign of Christ. She would not be alone in this, 
for it is exactly what the doctrine of "Selective Rapture 
and Resurrection" teaches, basing its conclusion on the 
statement of Paul: "If by any means I might attain 
unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had 
already attained, either were already perfect, but I fol- 
low after," etc. (Phil. 3:11.) 

But I hope "The Romance of Women Hymn 
Writers'* will be read by many who have not been con- 
fused by contending Advent theorists. 

If the hymn appeals to one who has not yet decided 
for Christ, let him decide, and by the new birth be one 
nature with the Lord of Glory. 

The believer can leave out the last verse or apply 
it to his state rather than to his standing. In either case 
this magnificent hymn should reveal several deeper things 
than simpler rhymes have fathomed, and I shall (D. V.) 
go on singing it for the glory of Christ and my own good. 



CHARITIE LEES SMITH 

CHARIT1E LEES SMITH, daughter of Dr. Sidney 
Smith, Rector of Drumragh, County Tyrone, was born 
June 21st, 1841. In 1869 she married Arthur E. Ban- 
croft. She wrote several hymns and poems, the hymns 
being collected in 1867 and published under the title: 
Within the Veil, by C. L. Smith. 

As becomes the gentler sex, emotion is nearer the 
surface than it is in man. Therefore, the hymns of 
women more easily touch the human heart. 

But emotion should be kept under control. Some 
of the hymns of F. W. Faber are as deeply emotional 
as any of those of women. But sometimes he overdoes 
it, as in that otherwise beautiful hymn, "O Come and 
Mourn with Me a While," where, in unrevised versions, 
we are invited to sit near the Cross and let the blood fall 
on us drop by drop. Emotion may have prompted that 
expression, but it is neither Holy Scripture nor good taste. 
No woman hymn writer indulges in such sentimentalism. 

Having said this, it is only due to Faber to add that 
some of his verses excel in reverent, pure emotion, such 
as: — 

"That Thou should'st think so much oj me, 

And be the God Thou art, 
Is darkness to my intellect, 

But sunshine to my heart." 

This is not only deep emotion, but exquisite poetry — so 
is: — 



76 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

"No earthly father loves like Thee, 

No mother half so mild, 
Bears and forbears as Thou hast done 

With me, Thy sinful child." 

Can we read these words without tears and amazement? 

But the exceptions prove the rule, and I stand by 
my conclusion that emotion is more natural to women 
than to men, and that is why they seldom, if ever, drift 
into unscriptural sentimentalism as Faber does, as if he 
were vainly trying to keep on the height he now and then 
reached. 

C. H. Spurgeon said, "Most people can get up into 
the Mount, but few people can stay there." 

In the following splendid hymn of Miss C. L. 
Smith we have emotion, not in patches but blending tender- 
ly in a sustained and reverent unfolding of truths upon 
which the confidence of the believer is based. 

I do not know that I ever heard the hymn sung in 
public, but I have often recited it to clinch an exposition 
of the Christian's security in Christ. I do not know how 
I came to know the hymn by heart, for it is not in any of 
the hymnbooks I have consulted except that of the 
Brethren. I have not even got a copy of the hymn, but 
have witten it out from memory. 

Before the throne of God above 

I have a strong, a perfect plea, 
A great High Priest Whose Name is Love, 

Who ever lives and pleads for me. 

My name is written on His hands, 

My name is written on His heart, 
I know that while in heaven He stands, 

No power can bid me thence depart. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 77 

When Satan tempts me to despair 

And tells me of my guilt within, 
Upward I look and see Him there, 

Who made an end of all my sin. 

Because the sinless Saviour died, 

My sinful soul is counted free, 
For God, the Just, is satisfied 

To look on Him and pardon me. 

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, 
My perfect, spotless Righteousness, 

The great unchangeable "I AM," 
The King of Glory and of Grace. 

One with Himself 1 cannot die, 

My soul is ransomed by His blood, 
My life is hid with Christ on high, 

With Christ, my Saviour and my God. 



SARAH DOUDNEY 

Sarah DOUDNEY, daughter of Mr. George E. 
Doudney, was born near Portsmouth. She was a prolific 
writer of songs, hymns and stories. Her first poem, "Les- 
sons of the Water Mill," was published when she was 
only fifteen years old. "Psalms of Life* was published 
in 1871, one of the poems in this volume being 'The 
Christian's Goodnight." 

Like Miss Elizabeth Clephane, Miss Doudney owes 
the popularity of this fine hymn to Ira D. Sankey, who 
tells the following interesting story in "Mp Life and 
Sacred Songs'*: — 

"The words of this hymn were occasioned by the 
death of a friend. They were handed to me at 
Bristol. I composed the music soon afterwards on 
the eve of leaving Great Britain for America, and 
sang it at the funeral of Charles H. Spurgeon, the 
great London preacher. It has since become very 
popular on two continents as a memorial hymn. 

"Each member of the Masonic Quartet at Pitts- 
burgh received a cheque and a note of thanks for 
singing at the funeral of Captain S. S. Brown. An 
unusual story was also made public thereby. 'In 
the last hours of the turf king's life,' one of the 
daily papers says, 'he had an interval in which his 
mind was clear. He called his daughter-in-law, 
and asked if she would take on herself the task of 
seeing that "The Christian's Goodnight" was sung 
at his funeral, and he told her in a disjointed way, 
of a dream from which he had just awakened. He 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 79 

had thought himself dead, and there were four 
ministers taking part in his funeral. He named the 
ministers and said that one of them had broken 
down while making an address, and that another, 
naming this minister also, had taken up the address. 
Captain Brown said that he awoke as all were 
singing ''The Christian's Goodnight," and that he 
joined with them in the singing. The dying man 
smiled faintly at the picture he drew, but begged 
his daughter-in-law to remember the promise.' " 

Until I found 'The Christian's Goodnight," I 
thought that Canon Ellerton's hymn: "Now the Labour- 
er's Task Is O'er," was the best hymn for the departed, 
especially the second verse: — 

"There the tears of earth are dried, 
There the hidden things are clear. 

There the work of life is tried 
By a juster Judge than here. 

Father, in Thy gracious keeping 

Leave me now Thy servant sleeping." 

This great hymn owes much to the tune composed 
by Dr. J. B. Dykes, who had an exceptional gift not 
only for composing tunes, but of fitting the music to the 
words. "Requiescat" is, I think, one of the best tunes 
ever composed for any hymn. 

But though 'The Christian's Goodnight" may not 
be equal in some respects to "Now the Labourer's Task 
Is O'er," yet for its simplicity and joyfulness, no easy 
matter in a funeral hymn, I suggest that it is the best 
hymn of its kind that we have. When I have recited 
some of the verses at the graveside, their deep emotion 
and spirit of hope have brought tears to my own eyes 
and, I am sure, to the eyes of many standing by. 



80 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

The tune may not be a classic like "Requiescat," 
but it blends with the words in a sweet tenderness that 
forbids any attempt to find a better tune. 

I sang 'The Christian's Goodnight" to an aged 
Christian lady in whose home I was staying while con- 
ducting services in the town where she lived. I have 
often been there since, and every time this dear woman, 
just on the borders of the "land that is fairer than day," 
always insisted on my singing the hymn for her again. 
She did not follow Letitia Barbauld, who wrote, "Say 
Not Goodnight, But in Some Brighter Sphere Bid Me 
Good Morning." My aged friend wanted both the 
Goodnight and the Goodmoming. She has had both. 

THE CHRISTIAN'S GOODNIGHT 

"The early Christians were accustomed to bid 
their dying friends 'Goodnight/ so sure were they 
of their awakening on the Resurrection Morning." 

Sleep on, beloved, sleep, and take thy rest; 

Lay down thy head upon thy Saviour's breast; 

We love thee well, but Jesus loved thee best — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Calm is thy slumber as an infant's sleep, 
But thou shalt wake no more to toil and weep; 
Thine is a perfect rest, secure and deep — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Until the shadows from this earth are cast, 
Until He gathers in His sheaves at last, 
Until the twilight gloom be overpast — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Until the Easter glory lights the skies; 
Until the dead in Jesus shall arise, 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 81 

And He shall come — but not in lowly guise — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Until made beautijul by love divine, 
Thou, in the likeness oj thy Lord shalt shine, 
And He shall bring that golden crown of thine — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Only "Goodnight," beloved, not "Farewell"! 
A little while and all His saints shall dwell 
In hallow'd union, indivisible — 

Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 

Until we meet again before His throne, 
Clothed in the spotless robe He gives His own, 
Until we know as even we are known — 
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! 



ANON 

ANON. This, it has been observed, is a .many- 
gifted and prolific authoress. It would be remiss if ,no 
place were found in these pages for a specimen of the 
work published under no name. 

But the question will arise as to how to be sure 
that ANON is ever a woman. A "chief" in a Govern- 
ment Department where I was formerly employed asked 
in blandest innocence if "we acknowledged anonymous 
letters." We did not! But in letters, as in poems and 
hymns, there may sometimes be discerned a gentleness, 
a delicacy of touch, a suppressed emotion that is seldom 
if ever found in compositions of the sterner sex. 

When Scenes of Clerical Life was published by 
George Eliot, Charles Dickens said if the author was a 
man, he possessed instincts never before possessed by a 
man since the world began. His penetrating intellect 
was right, for George Eliot was the pen-name of a wom- 
an — Mary Ann Evans. 

So with the poem here submitted I judge from in- 
ternal evidence that a woman was the authoress. I may 
be wrong, and I may find myself corrected by someone 
who knows who wrote the poem. All I know about it 
is that a friend from New Zealand, when saying good-bye 
on returning home from England, slipped a crumpled 
piece of paper into my hand and suggested I should read 
and, if possible, publish these beautiful lines. 

There were some words which I thought might be 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 83 

improved upon, and I took the liberty of attempting to do 
so, and with these slight amendments I published the 
poem in the Advent Witness. It has received the ap- 
preciation it deserves, but no one has come forward to 
claim authorship, and so I include it here under the well- 
known name "Anon." 

A moment in the morning ere the cares of day begin, 
Ere the heart's wide door is open {or the world to 

enter in, 
Ah, then, alone with Jesus in the silence of the morn 
In heavenly sweet communion let your joyful day be 

born. 
In the quietude that blesses with a prelude of repose 
Let your soul be soothed and softened as the dew 

revives the rose. 

A moment in the morning take your Bible in your hand, 
And catch a glimpse of glory from the peaceful promised 

land; 
It will linger still within you when you seek the busy 

mart, 
And like flowers of hope will blossom into beauty in 

your heart. 
The precious words, like jewels, will glisten all the day 
With a rare, effulgent glory, that will brighten all the 

way. 

A moment in the morning — a moment if not more, 

Is better than an hour when the trying day is o'er. 

'Tis the gentle dew from heaven, the manna for the day, 

If you fail to gather early — alas, it melts away! 

So in the blush of morning take the offered hand of 

love, 
And walk in heaven's pathway and the peace that's 

from above. 



84 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

Having strayed slightly from the main purpose of 
these pages, I should like to continue off the path a little 
while to interest the reader in some other poems I had the 
privilege of publishing in the Advent Witness. 

Poems are not always hymns, and hymns much 
more often are not poetry, far from it. A good tune 
sometimes succeeds in transfiguring rhymes that could 
never bear the light without smoked glass. 

But a worth-while poem will bear the closest scrutiny 
and speak to the heart without a garment to make it 
presentable. 

The three greatest sonnets are generally agreed to 
be Milton's "On His Blindness," Wordsworth's "Early 
Morning from Westminster Bridge," and Keats' "On 
Reading Chapman's Homer." They would be ruined 
by being set to music. I know them by heart, and their 
appeal to me can be best expressed by the concluding 
lines of Keats' sonnet: — 

"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, 
When a new planet swims into his ken, 

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He stared at the Pacific, and all his men 

Looked at each other with a wild surmise, 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien" 

And dare I say that I have received any contributions 
comparable with these? Well, I have received scores of 
poetical effusions, many of which lie in a drawer, un- 
merited and unsung, shall we say for want of space. But 
the following poem received from a lady worker in a 
hospital, though not in sonnet form, is worthy of a place, 
if not with the "first three," yet above a: multitude of 
sonnets that enrich our literature. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 85 

NIGHT DUTY 

"As certain as the Dawn' 3 Hosea 6:3. 

(New Version.) 

Day Nurse has gone — and all her work is ended. 
Yon come on duty — see the fire is mended — 
Put a dark cover on too brilliant light, 
And read your orders for the coming night. 
Then lualking softly up the silent ward, 
Commit yourself and patients to the Lord. 
You stand awhile beside one narrow bed, 
Watching flushed cheeks and weary, tossing head, 
And quickly see that you will have to fight 
With death through all the watches of the night. 
You do not mind the work there is to do, 
But that dread visitant oppresses you! 
Hours of hard toil — and how you long for morning, 
Watching to see the first faint streak of dawning, 
And when it comes with joy you draw the curtain, 
Happy to know that as the sun is certain, 
So, too, our long'd and looked for Lord will come, 
For all His waiting saints; no death, no tomb, 
No darkened valley, and no eyes grown dim, 
But like a lightning flash, caught up with Him! 

Ruth M. Hinder. 

The following verses, I think, will be judged by 
lovers of poetry as of intrinsic merit. But they have an 
added interest, in that they were composed by a great- 
niece of the Duke of Wellington, the "Iron Duke.*' I 
had the privilege of meeting the authoress, a daughter of 
Captain Wellesley, whose evangelistic labours have caused 
many names to be written in the Lamb's Book of Life. 

Miss Wellesley told me some wonderful stories of 
her father's labours for God, but she did not tell me that 
she was a poetess. "Deeds speak louder than words." 



86 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

THE VOICE OF THE BRIDEGROOM 

When Spring appeared in Palestine, 
And brought the lily, rose and myrtle, 

The tender fig, the mantling vine, 
And the low music of the turtle, 

A Voice supreme was heard to say, 

" Arise, my love, and come away!" 

The cry goes out in every land, 
Bright hope in loyal hearts to waken, 

The Lord celestial is at hand, 
Earth to its centre sorely shaken. 

The fair one can no longer stay, 

(< Arise, my love, and come away!" 

The night far spent, the morning nigh, 
O'er Eastern hill the dawn is showing, 

And, rising highest in the sky, 

The herald star is brightly glowing. 

His brightened lustre seems to say, 

"Arise, my love, and come away!" 

"The Spirit and the Bride say Come." 
Here roused hearts the news relating, 

The Father's House, the chosen home, 
To see the spouse all heaven is waiting. 

The Voice sounds clearer every day, 

"Arise, my love, and come away!" 

•jl qp fif> 

It has been my privilege to correspond with the 
authoress of the three following poems. She lived at 
Bordighera, Italy. Some years ago Miss H. E. Ward 
wrote telling me of blessing she had received from some- 
thing I had written, and although we never met, we got 
to know each other very well by means; of letters, in 
which we shared the precious things of the Lord. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 87 

When trouble developed in Italy about two years 
before war broke out, Miss Ward, then in her 84th year, 
had the painful experience of being removed to the South 
of France, but as things seemed to quiet down, she 
was brought back to Bordighera, where it pleased the 
Lord to take her gently to Himself before Italy threw 
in her lot with Germany. Otherwise she would have 
been an internee in circumstances too painful to think of. 
In warm appreciation of her friendship and of her poetic 
gifts, I include some of her verses, which I trust will be 
used to comfort those whose experience coincides with 
that of the sainted lady now "absent from the body and 
present with the Lord." 

IN THE DESERT WITH JESUS 

Away from the dusty highway, 

Away from the bustling street, 
The voice of my Saviour calls me 

To lie at His blessed feet 
Apart in the quiet desert, 

To rest for a little while. 
But I greeted His voice with tear-drops 

And not with a trusting smile. 

I had not known that His Presence 

Makes the desert bloom like a rose 
Nor thought of the fragrance scattered 

Wherever the Saviour goes. 
I had pictured the weary stretches 

And wastes of the desert land — 
But He has brought me to Eden, 

Or is it to Beulah land? 

There are blossoms around me springing 
Not reared upon earthly soil; 



88 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

There are lilies of Heavenly beauty 

Not cultured by human toil. 
Though the sun is high in the heavens, 

And 'tis past the noon-tide hour 
The dew is still lying thickly 

Upon growing grass and flower. 

And the winds of His grace are wafting 

About me a fragrance sweet, 
And His face is bent down towards me, 

As I lie at His blessed feet. 
O Saviour, is this the desert? 

Can this be the desert drear? 
Then the desert is one no longer 

If only my Lord be near! 

GOD IS LOVE 

As a child I had the Bible, 

Learnt its verses day by day, 
Scarce its meaning understanding, 

<( God is Love" I used to say. 
Three short words — and I could spell them, 

For the letters were so few; 
Years since then have glided by me, 

Now I know that they are true. 

For in many a language written 

Have I read those words again, 
When my heart was full of laughter, 

Or, perchance, in bitter pain. 
Brightly shone they in the sunlight, 

Sometimes when the clouds were dark 
Dim they shewed — J could not trace them 

Till I feel faith's flick'ring spark. 

Often through a fragrant garden 

Has the Father led His child, 
But, at times, on lonely pathways 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 89 

Where the thorns grew rank and wild. 
Of the thorns as of the flowers 

Still the same sweet words He wove; 
Sharp the thorns, and fair the flowers, 

But they each spelt — God is Love. 

It is night, and all around me 

Darkness penetrates the soul, 
Only illumined by the lightnings 

As the awful thunders roll. 
But the promise — true as ever 

Meets me as I gaze above. 
In the forked lightning's flashes 

I shall read that — God is Love. 

So I'll trust my Heavenly Father. 

And His child shall praise Him yet, 
If those words again are written 

In some other alphabet. 
But the depth of all their meaning 

I shall only know above. 
Written in the wounds of Jesus 

I shall read that GOD IS LOVE. 

SORROW TURNED INTO JOY 

I thank my Lord for all His tender care 

Has planned for me; 
For all the mercies that my eyes have seen, 

Or yet shall see. 

I praise for what He gave, and what in lo 

He took away — 
For all. despite my tears, He did not give. 

I praise today. 

The sparkling cup of earthly joy I sought 
With longing wild, 



90 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

But to His "House of Wine" He led instead 
His foolish child. 

My heart was full of laughter, He Himself 

Had made it so, 
He bade me share sweet fellowship with Him 

In bitter woe. 

His ways are higher than my human ways, 

His thoughts than mine, 
And I can trust myself within the clasp 

Of Hands divine. 

If grief assail me here on earth, I know 

There comes a day 
When God has pledged His word that He will wipe 

All tears away. 

Oh, blessed promise, tender as a kiss, 

Who sheds no tears this joy in Heaven will miss. 

"LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST 
THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE" 

A dead and dying world, is all around me; 

To whom, Lord, can I flee? 
Thou only hast the words of life eternal; 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 

I sought earth's flowers; they withered in my grasping; 

Their thorns have pierced me. 
Thou art the Thornless Rose, the Fadeless Lily — 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 

At the doomed roots the axe is laid, and ready 

For every earthly tree, 
Thou Tree of Life that weath'rest every tempest — 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 91 

I fed on husks of this world's empty pleasures 

And they have jailed me. 
Thou Living Bread that jor my food wast broken — 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 

Earth's streams run dry, but Living Waters flowing 

Bring Life divine to me. 
Thou art the Rock, and Thou for me wast smitten — 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 

Burdened and sad, I seek the Burden Bearer, 

Thou Who hast died for me, 
To give me Life, Thy life for me was given — 

I come to Thee — to Thee. 

Thou art the LIFE— Thou, only — the Life Giver, 

Live Thou Thy Life through me! 
Thou art the LIFE and it is death without Thee — 

I come to THEE— to THEE. 

Below is the last, but not least, of the poems I 
have selected to prove that women are equal, if not 
superior, in the sphere monopolized for so long by mere 
men. 

I say this though I have never been reconciled to 
"votes for women" ! 

REBEKAH IN THE DESERT 

"And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they 
rode upon the camels and followed the man." — Gen. 
24:61 and 65. 

On, ever on, with swift unwearying pace, 
My camel bears me through the deserts wide, 
Last eve a laughing girl, today a bride, 

And having not yet seen my bridegroom s face. 



92 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

My father's home I shall not see again, 

Brothers and girlhood friends, I left them all 
To answer that strange, new, resistless call 

That draws me on across this weary plain. 

Sometimes I think that all is but a dream, 
The unknown steward and his wondrous prayer, 
The camels at the voell, the gifts he bare — 

But, see! Upon my arms the bracelets gleam! 

No dream, but truth! Palm trees against the sky, 
And one comes forth to greet us — This is He! 
Give me my veil! Help me down speedily. 

My Lord, behold Thy handmaid. — Here am I. 

Frederica Sullivan. 

Here I conclude my selection of hymns written by 
women, believing I have substantiated the claim that 
hymn writing was the preserve of men ever since the 
world began till, in 1 760, Miss Annie Steele quietly 
came forward and took a place never before occupied by 
a woman. 

Some may think I have overlooked the Song of 
Deborah in the Book of Judges, but I would remind 
them that the Scripture says it was the Song of Deborah 
and Barak which was sung by them. There is no evi- 
dence that Deborah wrote it. It only says she sang it 
with Barak. It may have been written by someone else. 

The Magnificat has been more often sung as a 
hymn than any other song in the world. But the Virgin 
mother did not write it as a hymn for others to sing. She 
uttered the words by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. 
I, therefore, submit that every hymn or song or Psalm in 
the Bible was written by a man. 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 93 

Moses and the children of Israel sang a song unto 
the Lord after their deliverance from Pharaoh's armies, 
but Moses also wrote Psalm 90, as well as that magnifi- 
cent song in Deuteronomy 32. 

All the Psalms in the praise book of Israel were writ- 
ten by men, and there are no hymns or Psalms recorded 
in the New Testament, though they were sung by the 
Church, as we have seen. 

The earliest hymn of the Latin Fathers appears to 
have been written by Ambrose (340-97 A.D.), Bishop 
of Milan. Translations of two of them are in use today. 
Then followed Fortunatus (530-609), and Anselm, 
Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1 109). In the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries such glorious hymns as "Jerusalem 
the Golden," "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts," and 
"Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee," were written by 
the Bernards of Cluny and Clairvaux. 

But still there was no hymn written by a woman, till 
past the middle of the eighteenth century, when Miss 
Annie Steele broke the long silence which was not taken 
advantage of for another half-century. Then it was like 
opening the dykes in Holland, and the hymns of women 
became like the voice of many waters. 

My second contention is that when women began 
writing hymns they showed that they could beat men on 
their own ground, for about a dozen of the hymns I 
have selected are not, in my opinion, equalled by any 
dozen hymns written by men, although men had the 
advantage of their best hymns becoming "old favourites" 
before women ever began to "strike the lyre." 

However this may be, I feel we must give thanks to 



94 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

God for the treasury of Sacred Song. What would our 
churches, our revivals, our homes, be without the glorious 
hymns, the chants and anthems, which rise up in endless 
harmony from earth to heaven? 

Of course, hymns are written to be sung, but those 
who only sing them, especially if they only sing them in a 
church, are missing their greatest value. 

I am very fond of singing hymns, but I am more 
fond of meditating upon them. It has been one of the 
joys of my long life day and night to say over to myself, 
and to my God, the hallowed word-cadences of my 
favourite hymns. I can repeat from memory nearly 
all the hymns in this selection, and many besides, not 
omitting hymns written by men. 

Many people say, "I love that hymn," after singing 
it in church. Is it the hymn you love, or the tune ? I ask, 
and I generally find it's the tune. Thinking this over I 
suggest that some poor hymns are popular because they 
are sung only to a lovely tune. On the other hand, for 
want of a good tune many good hymns never have a 
chance. 

The beau-ideal is a hymn that is precious apart from 
a tune, and a tune that sings itself apart from a hymn. 
When such a hymn and such a tune are wedded, per- 
fection is found. 

When I was a boy I stayed with relatives with 
whom I went to a chapel where they sang hymns which 
were given out two lines at a time. The result was that 
I verily believed they made up the tune as they went 
along. To make matters worse, the person who gave 
out the hymn would often make lengthy comments while 



The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 95 

the congregation, with the unsung half of the tune in 
suspense, waited until he had done. I believe the hymns 
were rich in doctrine; but doctrine may be so rich as to 
spoil quite easily a hymn. 

Thomas Toke Lynch, of "Rivulet" fame, was by 
many looked upon as a heretic because his hymns had 
not doctrine enough. He did what Sir Walter Scott 
calls "stirring up the sugar instead of leaving it in lumps 
in the cup." I suppose the controversy is now almost 
forgotten, though Lynch's hymns are not by any means. 
Dr. Newman Hall, a famous minister, and author of a 
tract called "Come to Jesus" which has been circulated 
by the million, wrote a pamphlet bitterly criticising "The 
Rivulet," the title of Lynch's poems. Thomas Binney, 
the author of the hymn "Eternal Light! Eternal Light! 
How Pure the Soul Must Be," called one day on New- 
man Hall, who showed him his pamphlet and asked Dr. 
Binney what he should call it. Dr. Binney read it in 
silence, and then said gravely, "Call it, 'Go to the Devil/ 
by the Author of 'Come to Jesus.' These were strong 
words, but the stern rebuke made Newman Hall put the 
pamphlet in the fire and confess his mistake. 

There are hymns that may be sharply criticised, 
but it should be done in the spirit of Christ, and there art* 
so many thousands of hymns beyond criticism that their 
merit should be recognized by singing them with gratitude. 

The late W. T. Stead compiled a booklet entitled: 

Hymns That Have Helped. After reading it I had a 

momentary desire to compile a booklet entitled: Hymns 

That Have Hindered. But I thought, it might be that 

what hinders one may help another, so I have written 



96 The Romance of Women Hymn Writers 

instead — long years after — this book, THE RO- 
MANCE OF WOMEN HYMN WRITERS, and 
I think it will be found that the idea is original, and that 
some of the notes on hymns will enhance their value for 
those who have not carefully studied the texture of the 
precious fabric of which they are made.